By Jean Doran Matua, Editor
The July 8 Watkins city council meeting was led by acting mayor Tootz Tschumperlin. They approved the appointment of four new members to the Watkins Fire Department: Jake Kramer, Nick Meierhofer, Aaron Dockendorf, and Joe Kuechle Jr. All four have passed background checks. Although this appointment puts the department’s roster above the average, it will help having trained replacements for anticipated retirement(s) in the coming year or so.
The council terminated Sara Krippner’s position on the Planning Commission for non-residency (having sold her home, she no longer lives in Watkins). The council will advertise for a replacement.
The council declined to join the MN Coalition of Greater MN Cities, as they have in the past.
The city will split the cost of a $2,600 table at the Minnesota Real Estate Journal 2021 Awards where Watkins is a finalist with Fridley for City of the Year. Developer David Tysk and Meeker Leased Housing LLC will pay the other $1,300 for the table. Members of the council, EDA and Meeker Leased Housing will attend the ceremony Thursday afternoon, July 29. (See related story on page 1.)
The summer pool season is going well so far. It was decided in the spring that lessons could not be offered this year because of lack of trained staff in time to schedule lessons. But the plan is definitely to return to offering lessons in the 2022 summer season. The managers this year are mother-daughter team Kris and Bella Butterfass. Neither they nor the city office nor anyone on the council is aware of any complaints or problems this year related to the pool (except that there are no lessons this year).
The council voted to resume water shut-offs for overdue water bills. Shut-offs were halted with the Governor’s Peacetime Emergency Order that expired July 1. Letters did go out after July 1, and a few accounts were brought up-to-date, but about 20 accounts remain overdue, ranging in the hundreds of dollars (one as high as $800).
The council voted to subordinate the remaining balance of a July 2013 rehab loan. The property owner is refinancing, and the bank needs the $3,150 balance released in order to do so. (The city does not collect that money anyway; this is just an early end of the loan, something done previously for a property in the same situation).
The council approved a bid for $35,950 to repave the city’s parking lot (along the railroad tracks, off Central Avenue). The work likely will be done after Kraut N Wurst, as the parking lot will be cordoned off and unavailable for parking for some time (until the tar sets).
The next regular meeting of the Watkins city council will be at 7 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 12.